Manhattan's not the only place with $20 cocktails. A premium liquor boom has given consumers more options to spend big on their own home bar.
Top-tier spirits have seen tremendous growth in recent years. The overall U.S. bourbon market grew 13.2 percent last year from the previous year, while super premium bourbons rose 79.5 percent, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Super premium rum sales are up 91 percent year-over-year, versus 2.5 percent for the spirit's overall market. Even the market for super premium liqueurs and cordials saw a 21.1 percent increase last year.
Chalk it up, in large part, to the growing number of micro-distilleries producing small-batch organic, local or otherwise specialty spirits that often fit into premium categories. "The big guys are looking at that and seeing they have to step up," said Jerald O'Kennard, director of the Beverage Testing Institute. Major brands have extended their own lines with premium spirits that have been aged longer, or with a unique finish or flavor.